What Is Self Esteem And How Can We Improve It?
Self esteem is one of those buzz words that we hear frequently in the media. Basically self esteem is how we view ourselves across all aspects of our life. Having low self esteem is so common and I would bet that we have all suffered from it at one time in our lives. So what are the symptoms and how can we manage them more effectively so that we can live a more fulfilling life.
SYMPTOMS OF LOW SELF ESTEEM
1 – You often feel like you are not good enough and even go so far as telling yourself this. This feeling of worthlessness spills over into your personal and professional life and can have a massive impact on progressing in your personal life and career.
2 – You often feel that no one likes or loves you. You search for clues to back this up, like when a friend doesn’t return your call. It is more likely that this friend didn’t call you back because she was too busy but we look for the worst case scenario and believe that she doesn’t like us.
3 – You blame yourself for something that wasn’t your fault. How many times have you said sorry when you know deep down you were not the guilty party. With low self esteem we immediately take the blame for everything and this process makes us feel even worse about ourselves.
4 – You hate or dislike yourself. OK. We are all guilty of this at some stage in our life. How many of you have looked in the mirror and thought you didn’t like your body ? I would guess the majority of us have done this. It is easy to focus on ourselves looking for negative points, but a lot harder to look for positive signs.
5 – You are unable to make assertive decisions as you feel unsure that you are capable or clever enough. This can have a massive impact especially on our working life, as we may feel unable to apply for promotion, thinking we are not worthy.
6 – You often feel guilty for things that you have no reason to feel bad about. This can be something simple like buying yourself a new dress and then suddenly feeling guilty about buying it. Again this comes down to self worth and how we value ourselves.
7 – You often say to yourself ‘I don’t deserve to be happy’ as your inner voice generalises everything from your overall feeling of low confidence.
8 – When someone pays you a compliment you find it difficult to accept it or worse still, you don’t actually believe them. So instead of the compliment making you feel good, it actually makes you doubt the honesty of the person that said it.
9 – Following on from the above point, you are unable to see anything positive about yourself. So if someone were to ask you what good points you have, you would laugh and be unable to say anything.
10 – Finally low self esteem can be wrapped up in just a few words and that is, an overwhelming feeling of low confidence.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SELF ESTEEM
So what can you do about improving your self esteem ? There are many ways to challenge your thoughts and help raise the feelings of low confidence.
1 – Firstly try and avoid talking negatively about yourself. I know it is much harder to say positive things about yourself but the more you talk negatively then the more you will believe it. If you constantly say ‘ I am hopeless at playing golf’ then you will believe it to such a point that it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Try avoid this kind of talk and replace it with positive affirmations about yourself. Keep repeating these affirmations till they become a habit and a way of life. If you struggle with this, try writing down affirmations on post it notes and sticking them to your bathroom mirror so you see them every morning.
2 – Look at the negative things you are saying to yourself and ask yourself if you would talk like that to your child, partner, mother or best friend. I think if we treated ourselves as we treat those that we love, in the same way, then we wouldn’t think such negative thoughts. Try talking to yourself as though you were talking to your best friend. It takes practice but it can be done.
3 – Be wary of social media. It can be soul destroying to look on social media and see people with the perfect life, perfect figure, perfect job etc. It causes us to look at ourselves in a negative way as we wonder why our life isn’t the same. Never forget that people on social media do not have a perfect life. They only portray a small aspect of their life and you may never know the true reality behind that perfect life you see on the screen. Don’t compare yourselves to others. We are all human and there is no such thing as a Disney Princess !
4 – Try be more assertive in your life. This is difficult at first so why not start with something small. Try to say no more. This is a common problem with people with low self esteem who are unable to say no and so make themselves very unhappy in the process. If you find yourself invited to an event that you really do not want to attend, then take a deep breath and decline the invitation. I know it’s difficult but just think of the relief you will feel when you have done it.
5 – Start controlling your own life and decisions. Why don’t you decide what you want to do for YOUR life, instead of letting others make the decisions for you. In doing this you will become more confident and assertive and others will notice this as a positive attribute. The more decisions you make, then the easier it becomes. This will be a massive step in improving your confidence.
6 – Join a new club or social group. Been in a group with like minded people will make you feel part of a close knit community. Community based groups are recognised at helping those with low self esteem.
7 – Finally, if you are really struggling with low self esteem, please visit your GP who may be able to help you further. This may be beneficial especially if you are feeling so low that you may be depressed. Don’t ignore the feelings if they are really severe.
I hope you have enjoyed this little chat today. Let me know your thoughts on low self esteem and any tips you have to combat it.
Until next time dear friends